McKaley Miller, Gianni Paolo, Corey Fogelmanis & Dante Brown Interview: Ma

We interview Ma stars McKaley Miller, Gianni Paolo, Corey Fogelmanis and Dante Brown about how their characters view Octavia Spencer's Ma in the film.

McKaley Miller, Gianni Paolo, Dante Brown, Corey Fogelmanis, and Diana Silvers in Ma

In the new Blumhouse feature, Ma, a lonely middle-aged woman befriends some teenagers and decides to let them party in the basement of her home. But there are some house rules: One of the kids has to stay sober, don't curse, and never go upstairs. They must also refer to her as Ma. But as Ma's hospitality starts to curdle into obsession, what began as a teenage dream turns into a terrorizing nightmare, and Ma's place goes from the best place in town to the worst place on Earth. Screen Rant recently got to sit down with the teens from the film and discuss their characters.

First of all, I’ve gotta say congratulations on the film. So much fun. I know that’s crazy to say about a horror movie, but it is a lot of fun. So talk to me a little about your characters and how you guys initially view Ma.

Corey Fogelmanis: So I play Andy, and he’s the designated driver. I think that’s the best way to describe him. But he’s super sweet, and he loves his friends. [Corey and Gianni do a special handshake.] And I think when we first meet Ma, we’re super unsuspecting. She’s a very nurturing, sweet woman. She literally works at a vet and she has a dog, so we’re like, “Oh, she has a dog! It’s fine.”

Gianni Paolo: And people are so unsuspecting with dogs.

Corey Fogelmanis: I think that’s why we’re so quick to be like, “Yeah, what could go wrong?”

McKaley Miller: I think Haley is sort of like the life of the party, and is the one that’s like, “Oh, this girl is gonna buy us alcohol and let us party? This is great, I love her.” So I think that she kind of the first one to really be like, “We like her. Let’s do this.”

Dante Brown: My character is usually the one that’s like, “Nah, let’s not.” You know what I’m saying? Go to her house and go in the basement, but you never want to be left alone without your friends. Especially at her house, you don’t know what’s going on.

Gianni Paolo: Yeah, I feel like Chaz is the active stoner, I would say. Because he’s that guy that smokes weed, but he’s not [stoned], you know what I mean? He says the wrong thing at every point where you could say the wrong thing. And yeah, he’s just a lot of fun. Loves his friends, just like we said before.

McKaley Miller: Don’t do it again. Don’t do it.

Gianni Paolo: Do it, quick!

Which one of you guys is closest do your character?

Corey Fogelmanis: I don’t know. I feel like there’s a bit of each of us in our characters.

Dante Brown: Because Tate really let us put our own embodiment into the characters to really make it [real].

Corey Fogelmanis: And he really trusted us with our instincts.

McKaley Miller: He was very collaborative with us.

Dante Brown: He made it as real as possible.

Gianni Paolo: Also, Dante always says, “We don’t know this chick!” He does say that a lot.

McKaley Miller, Gianni Paolo, Dante Brown, Corey Fogelmanis, and Diana Silvers in Ma

If you weren’t your character, which of the other characters would you have been or would you want to be?

Gianni Paolo: I would love to be Ma.

McKaley Miller: I’d want to be Mercedes. She’s so fun.

Dante Brown: I’m gonna say Andy.

Corey Fogelmanis: I would say Stu, maybe.

McKaley Miller: I love Stu!

Stu is the best. Stu’s great.

Gianni Paolo: Also, I would love to look like Luke Evans too. He’s ripped, dude, are you kidding me?

And also the girl that’s always passed out because her father –

McKaley Miller: Heather!

Gianni Paolo: She made an impact.

There’s a lot of smaller characters that almost steal every scene.

Corey Fogelmanis: It’s so specific. You really get to know this town.

Most horror movies either have a monster or a ghost. This doesn’t have that; this has a very real possibility that something like this could happen. So what is your take on that? what do you want audiences to take away from that?

Dante Brown: Stranger danger, mostly. Bullying is a big problem. Like, chill on people. That type of thing.

McKaley Miller: It’s a lot of psychological [horror] because it’s very realistic, it could happen next door. And I think there’s a lot of hidden messages that you can pick up on throughout the film, so it’s not just one thing, “We hope you take this.” There's a lot.

Octavia Spencer in Ma

There’s a ton. Now, I know what happens at the end of the film, and I don’t want to spoil anything. But do you guys think Ma is dead?

Gianni Paolo: I don’t think she’s dead.

McKaley Miller: I think Ma’s spirit lives on forever.

Dante Brown: She don’t die. Does she multiply? I don’t know.

Gianni Paolo: I don’t know, I don’t think she’s dead. Jason Blum knows how to make money; I don’t think she’s dead!

I agree, I don’t think she’s dead either. It almost felt like that Halloween ending, where it’s like, “Oh, I think she’s coming back.”

Gianni Paolo: They could’ve even done the piano. That wasn’t the right thing, but…

McKaley Miller: I mean, listen. If there’s a sequel, they could start off the first scene being like, “Look, a woman dies, blah blah blah.” Or it could go both ways, seriously. It’s up for interpretation. It’s whatever you think.

I love that this movie’s coming out right after Mother’s Day. You guys did a great job, I can’t wait for everyone to see it.

All: Thank you!

More: Director Tate Taylor Interview for Ma

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